On 16 February 2018 the first meeting of the newly restructured board of Soroptimist International was held electronically. The new board consists of 2 directors from each Federation, the SI President, Treasurer and Advocacy Director; 11 voting directors in total. The SI President, Treasurer and Advocacy Director are also members of the SI Executive team with the Procedural Consultant, President Elect, Past President and the Global Executive Director (GED) who all focus on the day to day running of SI. All directors are now assigned to the SI Committees, with some taking Committee Chair roles.
SI President Mariet Verhoef Cohen chaired the meeting and welcomed all to this first meeting of the new board emphasising the need to work together as one international team, joining hands to achieve our unifying aim of global gender equality. The minutes of the previous board meeting held in December 2017 were approved and actions arising confirmed as complete.
Reports from the Executive team members, Chairs of President Appeals (Educate to Lead: Nepal and Women, Water and Leadership) and Chair of the 2019 Kuala Lumpur International Convention demonstrated the breadth of work being undertaken by volunteers for SI. SI President Mariet is travelling extensively for SI, advocating our position and work in implementing Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 6. The SI team of UN Representatives led by SI Director of Advocacy Beverly Bucur are also very active in ensuring the SI’s voice is heard at the UN centres where they work. The board approved a new SI Where We Stand Statement for Human Trafficking. This can be downloaded from the members area of the SI website at: https://www.soroptimistinternational.org/members-area/si-statements/.
The board agreed terms of reference and Committee Chairs for the new committees, which are now grouped into: Company, Mission and Ad Hoc. See the Our People section of our website to view the appointments; https://www.soroptimistinternational.org/about-us/our-people/ Newly appointed Chair of SI Governance, RoseMary Reid agreed that the governance committee would review all company governance documentation to ensure consistency and provision of clear guidance.
The board discussed and recognized that the traditional SI Presidents December 10th 1-day appeal has grown to become a biennial appeal which provides SI with international projects. It was recognized that this has become the practice since Birthing in the Pacific (2011 – 2013) and is now being referred to as the ‘President’s Appeal’. The board acknowledged the wonderful support shown by members in support of these appeals which have significant impact on the lives of women and girls. Reports will be disseminated to members to ensure everyone is informed of how contributions are used and the difference the work is making to the lives of women and girls.
SIHQ has recently moved premises although remaining in Cambridge, UK; Global Executive Director Deborah Thomas confirmed that the team have settled in well at the new offices. In her role as Secretary Deborah confirmed that all required submissions to Companies House to inform changes to Directors and registered office address are complete. Deborah is currently working with SI Treasurer Susanna Raccis to submit the 2017 financial records for audit and to seek quotations for audit provision for the next 2 financial years.
In 2023 it will be the turn of SI of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) to host the international convention; the board agreed that this could be held in July or August of 2023, with a venue to be agreed by the board later in 2018.
SI President Mariet’s closing remarks included her thanks to all new Directors and Committee Chairs for the work they were embracing and wished everyone participating in this years Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62) safe travels and a successful time at the event (12-23 March, New York). The board will meet next on 11 May 2018 which will be followed by the face to face board meeting in Budapest, Hungary. Dates 06 – 09 September 2018. Silent observers will be welcome to join the Annual General Meeting of the company; this will be held during the afternoon of Friday 07 September; precise timings to be advised.
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